Review: The Stone Turtle Restaurant an Experience in Fine Dinning
The Stone Turtle Restaurant in Island Park, Long Island is on it’s way to becoming the new hot spot that New Yorkers will actually leave the city to attend. Opened in May 2010, Executive Chef Gregory Baumel has assembled an eclectic and fun menu that adds a twist to everyday food in a friendly, chic, and lively atmosphere. I recently ventured out to Island Park to experience the new hotspot and of course sample the food.
The ambiance was friendly, welcoming, and an eclectic mix of classic rock and Motown oldies played in the background as I dined. The wall fountain I especially enjoyed as it created a calming trickling water sound. It was very soothing. The décor had a chic, down home feel to it. Plush leather armchairs and leather couch filled the lounge area and bookcase area (where I dined). Large, spacious booths filled the other half of the restaurant. An array of cookbooks lined the bookshelf, as did Trivial Pursuit games and books about the Beatles. It seems Chef Gregory is a Beatles lover. A beautiful marble table sat in the center of the lounge area. The sun beamed through the tall windows and lit up the beautiful artwork lining the walls. After enjoying the beautiful decor, I was ready to eat.
I started with a basket of peasant bread and freshly made pesto. This was the and heartiest pesto I have ever tasted so much so that I ended up ordering another basket! I just had a wonderful consistency. Then my drink came – a Mango Popsicle Martini. This was delicious! It’s a light, refreshing, and mildy sweet martini consisting of Cruzan Mango Rum, Bacardi Light Rum, fresh lime juice, cranberry juice, and a frozen mango lollipop. As the lollipop melts, it creates a smooth mango puree that adds a yummy mango kick. You can let it melt, or eat it as a popsicle! I did both!
For my main dish I had the Green Tea Poached Wild Alaskan Salmon. It was served with sesame grilled asparagus, wasabi cous cous, and Asian BBQ glaze. It was absolutely scrumptious! The plate presentation was so gorgeous I didn’t want to touch it, but hunger overrode beauty in this instance. The salmon was delectable! It was so juicy and tender it practically melted in my mouth. The Asian BBQ glaze poured on top simply popped on my taste-buds. The sesame grilled asparagus had the perfect tender yet crunchy texture and was seasoned beautifully. The cous cous was cooked just right with the mild wasabi flavor, without the bite, creeping up as I chewed. One of the surprising highlights of the dish was the garnish: pickled carrots and white onion. It was sweet and tangy and complemented every piece of the dish. The best garnish I’ve ever tasted! It was a hearty yet light and refreshing dish that left me feeling satisfied. But I didn’t stop there.
Next came the Chocolate Jack Daniels Pecan Pie with a cup of tea. It is a generous slice of pecan pie infused with a shot of Jack Daniels, a few pieces of Valrhona chocolate, and finished with whip cream on the side in an enclosed dish and a strawberry garnish in the shape of a rose. It was a lovely presentation. This dessert was so delightful and was one of the greatest pecan pie’s I have had. It was decadent, smooth, and not overwhelmingly sweet. A “Kick-Ass recipe”, as stated on the menu. The tea was a great finish to my lavish meal. I chose organic African Nectar tea from Mighty Leaf Tea. Each tea came in a handcrafted silken biodegradable pouch. It was light, exotic, and very flavorful. The honey, to sweeten the tea, was a piece of actual honeycomb! It came in a small dish with a spoon, and the best part, the honeycomb melts in your tea…completely dissolves! This was exciting to me.
The Stone Turtle is very accessible to public transportation. Just a 5 minute drive from the Island Park LIRR train stop, or you could walk. Chef Gregory Baumel has created a magnificent combination of elegance, fun, and eclectic food with The Stone Turtle. It’s an excellent mixture of flavors that leaves the taste-buds dancing in joy at the refreshing twists on the tastes of each dish. With friendly, attentive and knowledgeable staff, a chic and welcoming atmosphere all priced moderately, upscale dining hasn’t been so exciting. Check out The Stone Turtle and experience it for yourself.